Tonight's Presidential Debate: Victory for Obama, More of the Same from McCain

10/27/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

by musician, and I emphasize "musician," and not political expert, Sheryl Crow

I am not exactly sure how to begin this blog.

I am still slightly dumbfounded by what I feel was an out and out victory for Senator Obama. Anyone who knows me knows I am an Obama supporter but knowing I would be blogging for the Huffington Post tonight, I tried to watch this debate with complete objectivity. However, if I were to grade this debate on clarity, leadership qualities, values, a vast understanding of foreign affairs, I would have to give Senator Obama a far higher grade. I think I feel the same as most Americans when I say I am beyond tired of hearing John McCain sell this war and passing it off as great leadership. Even on the issue of Russia, McCain tried to paint Obama as being unknowledgeable on foreign issues. It is clear that John McCain is well traveled outside of the United States and has a vast understanding of foreign affairs, however, Obama did not give an inch.

On every question, I felt Senator Obama answered with clarity and thoughtfulness. I felt Senator McCain gave us a lot of his stump quotes when talking about the war and the failing economy. Quotes like, "I'm not known as Miss Congeniality," and the two letters Eisenhower wrote illustrating accountability, his reminding us that he is known as the "Maverick."

Obama clearly illustrated his in-depth understanding of foreign affairs. While McCain has an immense amount of experience in the military, there was never a moment that I perceived him as a levelheaded peacekeeper but instead looked like the same kind of defensive leader we've had for the last eight years. While Obama was talking about Afghanistan, Senator McCain was still selling the surge and the idea of "winning the war," a war that no one feels can be won. John McCain's entire message revolved around Iraq. He seemed to be in complete denial that our country is in a much less secure status than before 9/11, when it is clear that we have thrown a rock into a beehive.

I never once heard John McCain mention our failing educational system. He kept his mantra that Obama does not understand, which I felt only showed that he simply doesn't understand. McCain tried to wrap up the debate with simply saying Obama doesn't have the experience that he has or what it takes to lead this country. At which point McCain talked about how we cannot have another leader who is not flexible; he completely disqualified himself. It was a cry of desperation from a man who has been historically linked to the failing policies of George W. Bush.

I think while both candidates successfully argued their positions on sitting down with leaders of rogue nations, I felt that Obama proved his point that the policies of the past have not served us. McCain seemed to promise more of the same, which continued to illustrate his "stubbornness and inflexibility," which were the words he later warned the nation about in choosing Barack Obama as president. To me, McCain proved himself as the stubborn one. It felt like he was simply stuck in the past.


As an aside, I had a debate party tonight and these are the quotes I took down after the debate:

On McCain: "repetitive," "stuck," "defensive," "loopy and non-linear," "completely defeated," "snarky...we cannot have another condescending leader," "confused," "McCain doesn't listen, Obama does"

On Obama: "constructively critical," "thinks on his feet," "how nice to hear someone answer a question and not just keep going back to the stump"

All agreed that the final stage of this campaign should be that each candidate should have to debate Bono.